The ring or wheel of the Advent wreath of evergreens decorated with
candles was a symbol in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity.
The circle symbolized the eternal cycle of the seasons while the
evergreens and lighted candles signified the persistence of life in the
midst of winter. Some sources suggest the wreath—now reinterpreted as a
Christian symbol—was in common use in the Middle Ages, others that it
was established in Germany as a Christian custom only in the 16th